Saturday, October 29, 2011

Self-Publishing: What Works--Changing Your Product Page

I read an article on Digital Book World by Carolyn McCray about refining your Amazon Product page. (Sorry, I can't make a link work, so you'll have to google it.) If you haven't read any blog posts by Carolyn, I recommend you do so. She’s one of those amazing (and incomprehensible to me) women who knows statistics. (I had five stat classes in grad school, yet couldn't do a statistic to save my life.) She’s figured things out about Amazon, that would never even occur to me. I tend to read her articles, go away for a while and think about them, then come back and read them again. And maybe a third time.

Carolyn has monkeyed around with her product page and tracked what worked. She’s figured out a formula that works best for the product pages. In this article, she recommends taking out your blurb and just doing some bullet point highlights. However, before your blurb, you should do two or three short (a few words to a few sentences) reviews. After your blurb, finish with a couple more, hopefully ones that would lead to buying the book or the next one. She also has a lot more good points, but I’ll let you read them for yourself, instead of parroting her here.

I went to Carolyn's product pages and partially agree with her. (Only partly because I would have liked more product descriptions for all her books.) But her bullet point idea was intriguing, and I liked the reviews before and after. What I didn’t like was the lines at the bottom of her product page about her other books, which didn’t make much sense to me, so I skipped reading them after the first book.

My fantasy books have not had the amazing success that my sweet historical Westerns have, only selling a couple of books a day. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try a different way. I went to the product page of Sower of Dreams and took out the blurb, replacing it with:

Overview of Sower of Dreams:

A country invaded.

A princess on the run for her life.

A hero from another world.

An evil god who wants their souls.

Can they join forces to defeat the evil one and win freedom for their people?

(On the product page, they're single-spaced except for the last line. Couldn't make the blog single space them.)

I also added reviews before and after Wild Montana Sky and Starry Montana Sky, but did NOT take out the blurb. I didn't want to mess up a good thing. :) So far, it doesn't seem to have made a difference.

I had a good feeling when I made the changes to the product pages of Sower of Dreams and Reaper of Dreams. In the last two days, I’m seeing some improvement. Yesterday, I sold 8 of Sower of Dreams and 4 of Reaper. Today already, I’ve sold 4 of Sower and 3 of Reaper, and it’s only 4:30 PT. In the three months I’ve had these books up, I have had two or three days when the sales have been slightly better, but that’s rare, especially for Reaper.

I've made changes to two of the books on Barnes & Noble, and intend to finish the other two. Also I'll make the changes on Smashwords.

I’ll keep people posted. But if you have a book that’s not doing well, it’s worth changing your product page to see what happens.


  1. Debra,

    I think this is the link: Now I'm off to read it. :)

  2. Wait wait! This is it:

    That was an article on sales nodes (which sounds contagious but I'm sure it isn't).

  3. Thanks, Gina! On the nodes article, Carolyn does have links to the other.

  4. I think I have great blurbs already, but this is so easy for people to read like this. I'm going to play with my blurbs and see. Great advice.

    BTW, I love your cover for Sower of Dreams.

  5. Great advice, Debra. I am heading over to my product page now to tweak something :)

  6. Thank you for these great ideas and links! I'll go take a fresh look at my product pages. :-)

    Regina Duke

  7. Good luck, ladies!

    Edie, thanks for the compliment on Sower's cover. I love it too. I went back and forth with my cover designer, Lex Valentine, until I got the image I wanted.

  8. Sounds interesting, thanks for posting these ideas. I'm about to make major changes to my YA fantasy sales page--new cover, new title, revised blurb. I already have two reviews before the blurb but none after. I will try the bullet point idea when I make all my changes.

  9. Debra,

    I agree with the bullet point strategy re: capturing the reader's attention. We tend to "blur over" long paragraphs.

    It's almost like writing in "sound bites" in the same manner as when you're trying to get your talking points across on air, whether it's TV or radio.

    I begin my Naughty Christmas Carol description with "Scrooge meets Wall Street." I'm wondering if I need a more romance-like hook.

    As always, thank you for your great tips!

  10. Debra, thanks! That strategy makes sense in today's 'sound bite' world.

    That is a lovely cover! and perfect for your title.

  11. Jina,

    I think you should try, "Scrooge meets Wall Street meets (something that says romance.)"

    Thanks, Savanna.